The recent Scottish case of Tyco Fire highlighted that a landlord will not always be successful in challenging the validity of a break notice on the basis of a clerical error when the intention of the notice is clear.
Traditionally the court had a strict approach and were very unsympathetic to tenants. Here the heading of the break notice erroneously defined the demised premises. It only referred to Units 3 and 4 and not Unit 1. The case of Mannai Investments Co Ltd v Eagle Star set the precedent that the Court should follow a "reasonable recipient" test for determining the validity of the notice.
Here it was decided that a "reasonable recipient would not have been perplexed in any way by the error in the letter heading". It was decided that the operative element of the notice was sufficiently clear and unambiguous.
Notwithstanding the sympathetic decision this case serves a reminder of the importance of accuracy when servicing notices in leases. UK case decisions are persuasive to the Irish Courts and therefore trends in the UK can impact us here in Ireland.
It should however be noted that this case is being appealed so watch this space.
Tyco Fire & Integrated Solutions (UK) Limited v. Regent Quay Development Company Limited, 9 June 2016 – Validity of notice exercising break option in lease